Publication details [#6166]

Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Iraide. 2008. Vision metaphors for the intellect: Are they really cross-linguistic? 19 pp.


Many metaphor researchers, especially within the framework of Cognitive Linguistics, have argued that the conceptual link between sight and intellect is universal. However, there are many studies, mainly anthropological but also linguistic, that contradict not only the universality of these metaphors, but also the predominant role of vision in the domain of cognition. In this paper, I will discuss the role of embodiment and the importance of culture in the creation and conceptualisation of perception metaphors. The main point will be to show that all human beings use the senses for gathering and processing information, but that the sense through which they choose to access that knowledge depends on the culture they are embedded in. First of all, I will describe the senses in terms of prototypical properties. Then, I will show that the properties that apply to one sense in one culture might be applicable to a different sense in another culture. Rather than identifying one specific sense with one specific cognitive capability (UNDERSTANDING IS VISION), it is necessary to formulate these relationships on a more general and abstract level (UNDERSTANDING IS PERCEPTION). (Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano)